EMILY BRASFIELD 
CRIMINAL TRIAL

Emily Rizner Brasfield Civil Trail Deposition
Emily Rizner Cedar Falls Police Department Report


(pages 42-62)

 

5 The state would call Emily Brasfield.

 

6 EMILY JOY BRASFIELD,

 

7 called as a witness on behalf of the state, being first

8 duly sworn by the court, was examined and testified as

9 follows:

 

10 COURT: If you would, state your full name,

11 please.

 

12 WITNESS: Emily Joy Brasfield.

 

13 COURT: How do you spell your last name?

 

14 WITNESS: B-R-A-S-F-I-E-L-D. At the time of

15 the accident it was Emily Rizner.

 

16 COURT: Thank you. How do you spell that?

 

17 WITNESS: R-I-Z-N-E-R.

 

18 COURT: Mr. Wadding?

 

19 MR. WADDING: Thank you.

 

20 DIRECT EXAMINATION

 

21 BY MR. WADDING:

 

22 Q. Ms. Brasfield, I believe that you indicated

 

23 to the court, just for our purposes here, at the time of

24 this incident on October 4th, 1996, your last name was

25 different; is that correct?

 

43

 

1 A. Yes. It was Rizner.

 

2 Q. Okay. And you since have been married; is

3 that correct?

 

4 A. Yes.

 

5 Q. And do you go by Brasfield or Rizner?

 

6 A. Brasfield.

 

7 Q. And are you employed, Ms. Brasfield?

 

8 A. Yes. I work at Herbergers Department Store.

 

9 Q. And how long have you worked there?

 

10 A. Since November of '95.

 

11 Q. And are you a resident of this area?

 

12 A. Yes.

 

13 Q. How long have you been a resident of this

14 area?

 

15 A. I've lived here my whole life.

 

16 Q. And how old a person are you, ma'am?

 

17 A. I'm 18.

 

18 Q. And I want to draw your attention to the date

19 of October 4th, 1996, at approximately 11 p.m. Do you

20 recall where you were at that time?

21 A. Yes. I was driving north on Highway 58.

 

22 Q. And were you operating the vehicle?

23 A. Yes, I was.

 

24 Q. Was anybody with you?

25 A. My fiancé at the time, now my husband. He

 

44

 

1 was in the passenger seat.

 

2 Q. Anyone else with you?

 

3 A. No.

 

4 Q. What's your husband or fiancé's name?

 

5 A. DeWayne Brasfield.

 

6 Q. And do you recall why you were on that road?

 

7 A. We had gone to a late movie at -- 9 o'clock

8 movie, and we were on our way home. We live on campus.

 

9 Q. When you say you live on campus, what campus

10 are you speaking of?

 

11 A. The University of Northern Iowa campus.

12 We're in married student housing.

 

13 Q. And do you recall what movie theater you

14 would have been at or anything like that?

 

15 A. We would have been at Crossroads Theater. I

16 don't remember what movie we saw or anything.

 

17 Q. Had you done anything prior to going to the

18 movie, do you remember?

 

19 A. I don't recall.

 

20 Q. Had you had anything to drink that had

21 alcohol in it?

 

22 A. No.

 

23 Q. And do you know if Mr. Brasfield had?

 

24 A. No.

 

25 Q. He did not?

45

 

1 A. No.

 

2 Q. And do you recall where you were traveling on

3 that date then, on what road?

 

4 A. Highway 58. We were going north.

 

5 Q. You were going north?

 

6 A. Uh-huh.

 

7 Q. And could you describe, what would have been

8 your course of travel -- first of all, where were you

9 heading? What was your ultimate destination?

 

10 A. We had a stop at a friend of my husband's to

11 drop something off for him, a CD player that was his.

12 Q. So what route were you taking or going to

13 take?

 

14 A. We were going to turn left on Greenhill Road

15 and head up to the University, take Hudson Road and head

16 up to the University.

 

17 Q. And did you approach the intersection of

18 Highway 58 and Greenhill Road?

 

19 A. Yes, I did.

 

20 Q. What observations did you make of that

21 intersection when you approached it?

 

22 A. I was in the right lane when I began to

23 approach it, and there was a yellow blinking light, and I

24 needed -- we changed our mind on what course we were

25 taking to the University, and so I switched into the left

 

46

1 lane.

 

2 Q. And is that for -- what was the purpose of

3 switching into the left lane?

 

4 A. Because we decided to go to his friend's

5 house instead of go straight home.

 

6 Q. And what happened then?

 

7 A. Then I heard a crash, and I saw the back of

8 the navy blue car in the ditch -- or heading in the

9 ditch. I saw the actual movement of it going into the

10 ditch, and then by then we had gotten to the

11 intersection, and I made a U-turn, and my husband -- or

12 my fiancé at the time got out of the car, and then I

13 parked it.

 

14 Q. And you say you heard it crash, and then you

15 saw the back end of a blue car; is that correct?

 

16 A. Right.

 

17 Q. And did -- did you see -- did you see the

18 accident occur any time prior to that?

 

19 A. No, I did not.

 

20 Q. And when your husband got out, where did he

21 go, do you know?

 

22 A. He ran to the blue car.

 

23 Q. And where -- you indicated that you parked

24 your car; is that correct?

 

25 A. Yes.

47

 

1 Q. And made a U-turn?

 

2 A. Yes.

 

3 Q. And where did you park your car then?

 

4 A. I parked it along the side of the road by the

5 ditch where the navy blue car was --

 

6 Q. Would that have been on Highway 58 or

7 Greenhill Road?

 

8 A. It would have been Highway 58, and my car was

9 facing south, the opposite direction that I was driving.

 

10 Q. And what did you do after you parked your

11 car?

 

12 A. I jumped out, and I ran to the silver

13 vehicle, and there was a woman and a man getting out.

14 The man was getting out of the driver's seat, and the

15 women was getting out of the passenger's side. And I

16 just asked them, do you need any help? And the woman

17 said to me in slurred speech that she was fine but that

18 she felt that the other car needed help. So then I ran

19 to the navy blue car where my fiancé was at the time.

 

20 Q. Now, prior -- you say you went to the silver

21 vehicle; is that correct?

 

22 A. Yes.

 

23 Q. You observed how many people in that vehicle?

 

24 A. Two.

 

25 Q. You described them as a male and female?

 

48

 

1 A. Yes.

 

2 Q. Is one of those individuals in the courtroom

3 today?

 

4 A. Yes.

 

5 Q. Could you point him out and describe what

6 he's wearing?

 

7 A. The man right there in the gray suit.

8 MR. WADDING: May the record reflect the

9 witness has identified the defendant?

 

10 COURT: It may.

 

11 Q. Now, you said that -- did you make any other

12 observations other than the slurred speech of the woman?

 

13 A. She was stumbling around. Both of them were

14 stumbling around when they got out of the car.

 

15 Q. And did you make any other observations?

 

16 A. No. When she said that the navy blue car

17 needed help, I just ran right there.

 

18 Q. And did you ever go back to those two

19 individuals?

 

20 A. Yes, I did.

 

21 Q. Okay. When did -- when would you have gone

22 back to those two individuals?

 

23 A. Once I had gone to the navy blue car and

24 realized there was not much we could really do, I ran

25 back -- they were in the middle of the intersection on

 

49

 

1 the median, and I went back over there to make sure

2 everything was okay with them.

 

3 Q. Now, you say you ran over to the blue car --

 

4 A. Uh-huh.

 

5 Q. -- first before going back. What was your

6 purpose in going over to the blue car?

 

7 A. Well, the damage was pretty bad. We wanted

8 to make sure everybody was okay.

 

9 Q. Okay. Could you describe what you saw?

 

10 A. In the passenger seat there was a girl that

11 was conscious. She had a lot of blood all over her shirt

12 and stuff. The driver was pretty crunched into the

13 vehicle. At first we didn't know there was anyone in the

14 back, but it almost looked as if someone was having

15 seizures. They were kind of going like this

16 (indicating), and so we saw movement in the back and

17 realized there was someone back there.

 

18 Q. Now, you say that the driver appeared to be

19 pretty crunched in there, and could you -- what do you

20 mean by pretty crunched in there?

 

21 A. The steering wheel in the front of the car

22 were, and the side of the car were all pretty -- she was

23 not in a position I could move her or we could get her to

24 safety at all. I didn't feel comfortable in moving her

25 because she was -- I mean, she was not able -- she was so 50

1 crunched into the car, I mean, there was debris

2 everywhere.

 

3 Q. She looked like she was pinned in there?

 

4 A. Yes.

 

5 Q. Did you know any of those individuals?

 

6 A. No, I did not.

 

7 Q. And who -- who's all at the blue car when

8 you're at the blue car?

 

9 A. Me and my fiancé were the only two at the

10 car.

 

11 Q. Did you observe anybody else at the

12 intersection other than the defendant and the female that

13 was with him and the three people in the blue car?

 

14 A. There was another gal in a red car that was

15 driving, I want to say east on Greenhill, and she was

16 parked just a few feet away, a few yards away from the

17 accident.

 

18 Q. Did you have any contact with her?

 

19 A. We just asked her what she saw and if she had

20 called. We made sure she had called 911 and stuff

21 because we had a cell phone with us.

 

22 Q. And had she called 911?

 

23 A. Yes. We -- it was taking awhile though, so

24 we made another call because we felt it was taking quite

25 awhile.

 

51

 

1 Q. And, I mean, what was your feeling, or what

2 was your impression of the -- of the seriousness of the

3 accident?

 

4 A. I thought it was very serious. I didn't

5 think that they would make it, any one of them in the car

6 other than the passenger. I didn't think the person in

7 the back seat or the driver would make it.

 

8 Q. Were you getting any kind of response out of

9 the driver or the back seat passenger when you made

10 contact with them?

 

11 A. No. They were -- we tried to, you know,

12 say -- ask them if they were okay, but they were both

13 unconscious, and they both looked almost as if they were

14 having seizures or some kind of shock because they were

15 both moving, but they were not conscious.

 

16 Q. And after you went to the blue car, how long

17 do you think you stayed at the blue car?

 

18 A. Oh, five, ten minutes.

 

19 Q. And you said that you went back to that --

20 the silver vehicle or the defendant and the female that

21 was with him?

 

22 A. The silver vehicle was aban -- I mean, they

23 got out of it and everything, so we didn't go back there,

24 but they were on the median in the -- on Greenhill Road,

25 and they were sitting there, and they -- holding each

 

52

 

1 other up and kind of stumbling around and stuff.

 

2 Q. Now, did you have any further contact with

3 them verbally?

 

4 A. I did not speak to them directly, but I did

5 hear him say that he had something to drink that night.

 

6 Q. And do you remember what kind -- kind of

7 context he put that in, or do you recall -- just recall

8 it as a general statement that he had something to drink?

 

9 A. I had a few drinks tonight. I mean, that was

10 pretty much -- just a basic statement, I had a few drinks

11 tonight.

 

12 Q. Now --

 

13 MR. WADDING: May I approach, Your Honor?

 

14 COURT: You may.

 

15 Q. I had you take a look at this prior to your

16 testimony today, didn't I?

 

17 A. Yes.

 

18 Q. I don't know, I don't have -- I don't have a

19 pen that seems to want to work on here very well, but I

20 was wondering if you could at least attempt to plot where

21 your vehicle would have been on this -- on the drawing

22 itself or on the photograph.

 

23 A. Okay. At the time of the accident?

 

24 Q. Yes.

 

25 A. (Complied.)

 

53

 

1 Q. Okay. Could you just put your initials

2 there, if you wouldn't mind.

 

3 A. (Complied.)

 

4 Q. Now, that's initialed E B, right?

 

5 A. Yes.

 

6 Q. Now, if you wouldn't mind, if I could ask you

7 to indicate where you would have located the two

8 vehicles, the silver vehicle and the blue vehicle.

 

9 A. Okay.

 

10 Q. If you wouldn't mind.

 

11 A. (Complied.)

 

12 COURT: Is this after impact?

 

13 MR. WADDING: After impact, yes.

 

14 A. That being the silver and that being the

15 navy.

 

16 Q. Okay. Could you just go ahead and put like a

17 B for the blue and the S for the silver.

 

18 A. (Complied.)

 

19 Q. Thank you. And when you observed the other

20 vehicle on Greenhill Road, where would that vehicle have

21 been?

 

22 A. Right there by that median just parked right

23 at the intersection.

 

24 Q. Now, you said that -- you said that the

25 defendant and the female that was with him were standing

 

54

 

1 on the median of Greenhill Road. What median are you

2 speaking of?

 

3 A. This one right there (indicating).

 

4 Q. And is that in the middle of the lanes of

5 travel?

 

6 A. Yes.

 

7 Q. And that was after -- that was after you had

8 already been to the blue car?

 

9 A. Yes.

 

10 Q. And they were still on the median?

 

11 A. Yes. They were there until the cops and

12 the -- until the police and the ambulance arrived.

 

13 Q. And after the police and ambulance arrived,

14 what did you do?

 

15 A. They got our names and asked, you know, what

16 happened, and we told them what happened. We waited

17 around until everyone had been -- until the ambulance had

18 been loaded and everything, and then we left.

 

19 Q. And did you have any further contact with

20 police personnel?

 

21 A. That night we did go down and make a

22 statement to the police.

 

23 MR. WADDING: That's all the questions I

24 have. Thank you.

 

25 COURT: Mr. Correll?

 

55

 

1 CROSS-EXAMINATION

 

2 BY MR. CORRELL:

 

3 Q. Ms. Brasfield, when you were going down

4 Highway 58, you ultimately decided to go home and turn

5 left; is that what you were going to do?

 

6 A. We were going to go home and make a right,

7 and we decided to stop at his friend's house to drop

8 something off and so switched lanes to make a left.

 

9 Q. Okay. And how far back from the intersection

10 in feet were you approximately when you decided to make

11 that lane change?

 

12 A. We were probably a block away from the

13 intersection.

 

14 Q. And when you were looking to make that lane

15 change, did you look over your shoulder, in the mirror

16 or --

 

17 A. Yes.

 

18 Q. Is it fair to say you didn't see the -- the

19 Rokes vehicle coming from -- on Greenhill Road?

 

20 A. No. I did not see their vehicle until after

21 the accident occurred.

 

22 Q. And is it fair to also say that you didn't

23 see the Farrell vehicle prior to the accident?

 

24 A. No, I did not.

 

25 Q. And what really -- the first thing you knew

56

 

1 about it was the noise, I take it, and that caused

2 your -- to be kind of be alert, I suppose?

 

3 A. Yes.

 

4 Q. And you saw the post accident, but the car

5 still in motion; am I correct in that?

 

6 A. That is correct.

 

7 Q. And the -- did you review your statement

8 today?

 

9 A. Yes, I did.

 

10 Q. And was that statement -- wasn't that

11 statement taken the next -- not the next Saturday, but

12 that next night, Saturday night?

 

13 A. I -- it was either that night or the next

14 night. I don't quite remember when it was taken.

 

15 Q. Could it have been --

 

16 MR. CORRELL: Could you show her her

17 statement?

 

18 (At which time Mr. Wadding handed the

19 requested document to Mr. Correll.)

 

20 Q. I'm going to hand to you what is marked a

21 copy of the statement from the Cedar Falls police, and it

22 has your name before you were married down here. Is that

23 your signature?

 

24 A. Yes, it is.

 

25 Q. Okay. And I would refer you, it looks like

 

57

 

1 here the statement was October 5th, which I think the

2 record will show was a Saturday, and that it started at

3 about 21:50 hours, which would be like 7:30 or so in

4 the -- or later than that I guess it would be, but

5 does -- after having seen that, does that refresh your

6 recollection as to when you gave the statement?

 

7 A. Yes.

 

8 Q. Okay. And it would have been not quite

9 24 hours later --

 

10 A. Yes.

 

11 Q. -- is that correct? And in that statement

12 that you gave the officer, you made -- you make no

13 statement or allegation in that that Mr. Rokes was under

14 the influence of alcohol; isn't that correct?

 

15 A. I believe that when they were stumbling

16 around and their speech was slurred, I believe -- whether

17 or not I indicated it on the statement, I believe he was

18 intoxicated.

 

19 Q. You did not indicate that in your statement

20 though, did you?

 

21 A. No, I did not.

 

22 Q. And you didn't indicate any smell or odor of

23 alcohol from Mr. Rokes, did you?

 

24 A. I did not smell any alcohol on him, no.

 

25 Q. And he had just been in a substantial

 

58

 

1 collision, had he not?

 

2 A. (Nodding.)

 

3 Q. Isn't that correct?

 

4 A. That is correct.

 

5 Q. And isn't it possible that the stumbling --

6 first of all, he helped his wife, did he not?

 

7 A. Yes, he did.

 

8 Q. And isn't it also possible that the stumbling

9 that you saw was stumbling associated with just being in

10 the impact of that accident?

 

11 A. It is possible, yes.

 

12 Q. Okay.

 

13 A. I don't believe that the slurred speech had

14 anything to do with the impact though.

 

15 Q. This slurred speech you mentioned was his

16 wife though, was it not?

 

17 A. It was both of them.

 

18 Q. And that is not indicated in here anyplace,

19 is it?

 

20 A. No.

 

21 Q. And you would have had a chance to put that

22 in, did you not?

 

23 A. Yes.

 

24 MR. CORRELL: That's all I have.

 

25 COURT: Mr. Wadding?

 

59

 

1 REDIRECT EXAMINATION

 

2 BY MR. WADDING:

 

3 Q. You indicated that it was possible that the

4 stumbling could be attributed to the accident. Did you

5 attribute that to the accident?

 

6 A. At first I thought it was because of the

7 accident, yes. When I first arrived and they were

8 stumbling, I thought they were in shock.

 

9 Q. Did that continue throughout your contact

10 with them? Did you always think it was because of the

11 accident?

 

12 A. No. After the initial, you know, after I had

13 spoken to them and they were sitting on the curb, I mean,

14 they were real -- they were holding each other up. They

15 were -- they couldn't even sit up, and so I didn't think

16 that was -- had anything to do with the accident. I

17 thought that had to do with alcohol.

 

18 Q. And do you recall anybody from -- well, you

19 gave your statement to the Cedar Falls Police Department;

20 is that correct?

 

21 A. That's correct.

 

22 Q. Did anybody ask you to make that conclusion?

 

23 Did anybody ask you to say, did you think they were

24 intoxicated?

 

25 A. No.

 

60

 

1 Q. And you're just basically writing down your

2 observations?

 

3 A. Correct.

 

4 Q. And part of those observations was that they

5 were stumbling; is that correct?

 

6 A. Yes, that's correct. They were asking me

7 questions, and I was answering them, and they were

8 writing them in sentence form. I never told a story of

9 what happened.

 

10 Q. Did the -- your opinion that the defendant

11 was intoxicated, did that form at the time that you were

12 out at the scene, or when did you form that opinion that

13 he was intoxicated?

 

14 A. I formed that at the scene.

 

15 MR. WADDING: That's all the questions I

16 have. Thank you.

 

17 RECROSS-EXAMINATION

 

18 BY MR. CORRELL:

 

19 Q. At the same time you never smelled any

20 alcohol on him; isn't that correct?

 

21 A. No, I did not.

 

22 Q. And when he said he had had a drink, he was

23 giving that information to a law enforcement officer, was

24 he not?

 

25 A. I believe so, yes.

61

 

1 MR. CORRELL: That's all.

 

2 COURT: Mr. Wadding?

 

3 MR. WADDING: Nothing further.

 

4 COURT: Thank you.

 

5 Why don't we take ten minutes at this point,

6 and we'll reconvene at 10:45. Also, I have a note that

7 courtroom 3 is available, but everyone is set up in here.

 

8 Any problem if we just meet back here at 10:45?

 

9 MR. WADDING: Well, I guess the state would

10 request, if -- if it isn't too inconvenient to the court,

11 that we go to a larger courtroom. I believe that the

12 gallery is -- I think that obviously Ms. Farrell's family

13 is here and those people that support Juli Farrell as

14 well, and I think the accommodations are not very

15 conducive to their observing the trial. I would ask that

16 we go to courtroom 3.

 

17 COURT: They do appear a little cramped back

18 there. Any problem with that, Mr. Correll?

 

19 MR. CORRELL: I'll leave that up to the

20 court.

 

21 COURT: We'll reconvene in courtroom 3 at

 

22 10:45.

 

23 (At which time a recess was taken at

24 10:37 a.m., May 13, 1997; and proceedings commenced at

25 10:50 a.m., May 13, 1997, with the court, counsel and

62

 

1 defendant present.)

 

2 COURT: Are the parties ready? Mr. Wadding?

 

3 MR. WADDING: Yes, Your Honor.

 

4 COURT: Mr. Correll?

 

5 MR. CORRELL: Yes.

update 12/16/16